Southwest Livingston boys again tripped up by Orrick in district cage final

As reported to C-T
Southwest Livingston High School basketball Wildcats senior guard Chase Neptune drives to the basket with Orrick senior Dylan Comstock defending during the fourth quarter of Friday’s (Feb. 26) Class 1 District 13 Tournament championship game at Norborne. After cutting a 9-points halftime deficit down to three at the end of three periods, senior-laden Southwest Livingston could not sustain its rally as, for the second year in a row, it lost to Orrick in the district-title game, this time 62-52.

NORBORNE — After battling back from a disappointing, but not disastrous, second quarter to draw within 40-37 after three periods Friday (Feb. 26), the Southwest Livingston High School basketball Wildcats couldn’t stop the Orrick Bearcats from scoring in the last stanza as the Wildcats dropped the CLass 1 District 13 Tournament championship game to OHS for a second year in a row, this time by a 62-52 count.

The loss ended the Carroll-Livingston Activity Association regular-season and tournament champion’s 2020-21 season with a still-sparkling 17-5 record.

Friday’s boys’ championship rematch opened at a fast scoring clip with 38 total points scored and the top-seeded Bearcats, coached by former Chillicothe head coach Matt Brownsberger, seizing a 21-17 lead. The Wildcats’ scoring was well-divided among three sources; both guard Wesley Hughes and post player Remington Woodcock had six and guard/forward Patrick Warren five.

While the pace slowed in the second quarter, Southwest Livingston’s did so more significantly. The Wildcats got only a 2-points basket from each of four players during those eight minutes, allowing OHS to slip out to a 34-25 halftime advantage.

Once the second half began, virtually only Hughes could find the target for SLHS, although he did so repeatedly.

His seven points, combined with a Chase Neptune trey and R. Woodcock deuce and improved defense that held Orrick to only two baskets and six points, powered the Wildcats to within three points, 40-37, starting the last segment of regulation play. A similar fourth quarter and the Ludlow-based team would be headed into state-tournament play.

It didn’t happen, though.

Orrick solved whatever was ailing it at the offensive end of the court between periods, generating points in every manner possible. The Bearcats hit from 2-points distance seven times, from 3-points land once, and converted on half of their 10 free throws.

Even as Hughes heated up even further with a pair of triples, two deuces, and three free throws for half of his game-high 26 points, the Bearcats’ greater scope of scoring reinflated their lead and took most of the uncertainty out of things by the final minute.

Statistically, Southwest Livingston could only back up Hughes’ huge game with 10 points from R. Woodcock, seven apiece from Warren and Neptune, and two by Morgan Anderson.

Orrick, on the other hand, not only had three scorers in double figures, but two others with eight and six, respectively. Leading the Bearcats back to state was Ethan Wilson with 21 points.

Following the Southwest Livingston boys’ loss, the top seeded host Norborne Lady Pirates were knocked off by No. 2 seed Alma: Santa Fe, 43-30.

That meant, for the first time since the 2004-05 season, no CLAA squad had battled its way into the Class 1 state tournament. It’s also the first time since the following year that a CLAA girls’ representative has not been part of the 16-teams girls’ state field.